Friday, March 26, 2010

Hero of our times...1

From his childhood Pappu had been an avid reader of books. He grew up as a rebel. But he lived in an era when the youth had become disillusioned with the ideological vaccum created by the independence era generation. August 15, 1947 had given them high hopes for a better tomorrow. But their hopes were crashed by a corrupt system.

He was a member of neighborhood library and did many plays in the local cultural community. He had started writing at an early age but could never overcome his shyness to publish them.

As expected he did very well in the high school. He did exceptionally well in the language subjects. He went with his father to get admitted to college. Literature was his dream destination. With his marks he could easily secure an admission.

While waiting for an audience with the Principal, his father met his old friend, Ayyappa Panicker. AP had recently got an award for his poems. He was very well known in the literary circles. On learning that he wanted to put his son in literature, AP took Pappu’s father aside. AP explained the difficulties of securing a job with a literature degree. While as science degree had become the trend of the season. It was easy to secure jobs, go for higher studies, go abroad etc. A literature student could become a teacher or professor with much luck and bribes. There is a good chance he will roam around the streets unshaven and hungry.

Any ways his father acted very quickly. Before Pappu could protest, he found himself in a chemistry class.

Chemicals were never his cup of tea. He sat at the back benches reading through the great literary works he got from the library. As long as he was not a bother his teachers didn’t disturb him. He soon grew to be a nuisance, getting into arguments with his teachers. Some of the orthodox teachers lavishly cursed him.

Pappu joined state radio as a presenter. He befriended the literary geniuses, weekly publishers and others of his wavelength. Slowly people started realizing his abilities. He managed to get his first novel published. That was very well received and he won a national award for it.

Encouraged by his friends, he quit his job and started writing scripts for films and then moved to direction.

Pappu grew on to become on the greatest Malayalam director ever. His films became the bench mark for Malayalam industry. Movie buffs, like me, still think of him with pride.

Ladies and gentlemen introducing to you my favorite Malayalam director- Padmarajan. Here you can read one of my first post about him.

Afterword: Whatever the situation you are in, with a bit of hard work and luck, you can reach your destinity

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sad, Bad, Mad, Glad world of Blogs

Take a snapshot of humanity at any point of its evolution, you will see a few individuals standing back and laughing at the society around them. Some may play a proactive role , most of them will not.

This is what I wanted to do when I started the blog a year ago- stand back and laugh. I am too timid to use my real name or picture. Like everyone else I wear a mask around my home, office and friends. I remove that mask when I sit in front of my laptop.

Almost into my 50th post, I feel this is the best time to make a few observations on a world which pretty much became my own.

Writing and blogging are miles apart. After a few good posts some get the feeling that he/she will make a good writer. The problem lies with poor reading habits. Unless you get a taste of good literary works you will rank yourself very high in writing skills. But yes, there are bloggers who can make good writers. But I have met only a real few.

Blogosphere is not utopia. It’s a very competitive area and the competition is imperfect. ‘Recognition’ is a relative term. Widely, popularity and fame of a blog is judged based on the comments and followers. So what does it take to become a ‘popular’ blogger?

Decision. The toughest question is- What to blog on? From a personal front, my blog was mish mash of everything until I diversified into three. That is the story behind the creation of my photo blog and think blog. It’s important to have a blog specialized on something.

Coming back there are popular topics and ‘who-cares’ ones. Most of the bloggers I have seen are free from any kind of political affiliations and so doesn’t care about any political or social issues. Only thing that possibly hurt them is their relationships. In short words 99.9% of them are metro sexual. So a blogger will gain attention only if he fulfills the norm of their taste buds.

The few bloggers I have met with any political conscious belonged to the right wing- people I love to hate.

Humor blogs and relationships (romance in other word) are the ones in great demand. But since there is a tough competition here, you will find it hard to thrive. But if you have got the ability to lace your posts with sex here and there you are sure shot success. The surprising part is girls are more active than the guys in category (as authors and followers).

Then there are girl just in college who doesn’t get enough people to listen to them. So they put every aspect of their life in blogs. It’s really cute to read them and there are many who find so too. But amazingly many of them stop midway, real reason being they find no more inspiration in blogging.

And I am on my journey to find out some real amazing bloggers with a difference.

Marketing. If you want to be a known blogger it’s really important to market your blog just like everything else in the world. As a first step pick up an eye catching template. The built in templates of blogger is a big time bore (their fonts are worse). Thankfully, there are number of free blog templates for you to pick up from.

I am irritated with templates that gives you an eyesore when you try to read. The girls go for pink ones with lots of flowers. The rebels (with psychological problems) go for outlandish dark colours . I believe a blogger with content just put up a simple template and guys like me browse every week for a new template.

The most important step in marketing is letting people that you have arrived. Non-bloggers doesn’t regularly follow blogs. So get into a community and follow blogs. Comment regularly and you needn’t read through blogs. Just put in some regular words like ‘Good post J’, ‘Awesome’, ‘’ :D’ etc. To be frank I haven’t read any critical comment in most of the posts I have gone through. It is world of hypocrites. Better visit fresh bloggers they will appreciate the fact that you are following them and will do the same in return.

Post blogs only in regular intervals. Never crowd the intervals.

And here comes the main reason for this post. Here are the ones I consider as the best blogs.

1.Crusader: He is one hell of a great blogger. He always keeps the post with in a limited length but never loses the quality in content. He has got an exceptional language too. He lives up to his reputation and rarely comes up with a crap but can be really impulsive at times. I will have to thank him for getting me started and keeping me motivated in my initial days. I have known him from school and he is equally talented in photography too.

2.Just some thoughts: I watched her growing up to a terrific writer/blogger. Her posts used to be raw earlier but still they had a hint of talent hidden. Now she is more refined. But the poor thing gets de-motivated at times because of few commentators/followers. A sweet baby with exceptional abilities.

3.A hint of coffee. I have read many disillusioned posts but never one as good as hers. She will touch your heart with her posts.

4.Chronicwriter: He doesn’t need my recommendation.

5.Colours, shades: He is a typical metro sexual and laces almost all his posts with a wee bit of libidinous entertainers. He has got a huge number of female followers and I have rarely seen a male commenting to his posting. And I think he follows only females (just speculation).

6.Grey Confessions: He writes great stories but haven’t been active for long

7.Tale Weaver: I am proud that I have got him in my followers list. I believe he is a software engineer who ended up in the wrong place. He should have been a writer. He writes great stories.

8,Country gal: You must see her photos to believe.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Goa Chapter 2- The Exodus

Travel arrangements were done and dormitories were booked for our stay. But still there was a silent fog of doubt hanging in my mind.

The person who unwittingly helped me overcome my doubts was a slimy, asshole whom I call my manager. Managers, good or bad, are the most hated creatures in the earth. But the (former) manager of mine goes around with a sticker on his forehead ’Hate Me’. Just days before the trip our performance appraisal came and the sycophants went away with great grades while I found myself in a swamp.

Some people chase dreams set out by others all their lives. But at the end of day they realise what they were chasing was just a mirage. I want to set my own goals. I want to have dreams, which I can call my own, I had to make this journey.

So as I boarded the train I had this feeling of escaping from getting suffocated. Travelling in Indian trains are usually eventful. You walk across the aisle and you will meet the cross section of Indian culture. The first prayer a single Indian will have before he boards the train is to get a hot woman as the companion. But this time we got an elderly couple travelling with us.

As soon as she got into the train she opened a box secretly and looked around. After making sure that no one is watching she quickly placed something in her mouth. I started feeling uneasy, ‘What could that be? She looks frail. But that doesn’t make her innocent. Should I call the police?’ Thankfully my brain cells worked although a bit slowly. It was just her false teeth.

As the journey went on, the old man opened up. They were Goans on a pilgrimage to temples all over India. We Indians have a firm belief that we will face the consequences of our deeds this life or the next. So it has been a practice among Indians to go on a pilgrimage after retirement, to escape the eternal damnation. That is one of the reasons why Indians make poor tourists. But thankfully the average age of Indian travelers has been coming down.

The best train to travel around in India is ‘Rajdhani’. The train is wholly air-conditioned and the staff treats you royally with blankets, food and extra food (if you tip them liberally). The interior is very clean. And the ticket fare is not unaffordable too. That could be the reason why Rajdhani is a preferred train today. Indian railways are run by real efficient businessmen.

Out of 6, three were supposed to reach earlier than us. The mode of transport in Goa was something we broke our heads up on. We had to choose between bike and car. Thankfully good senses prevailed. We chose a car. Unless you are sun hardened travelers the hot sun of Goa can wear you down in a few hours. Traveliing around in bike can be adventurous and macho. I would recommend that for professional tourists. But that is not the mode for soft travelers like us.

Accommodation was something we had no difference of opinion in. We had been to Goa while we were in college. While we chose the same old hostel again it was a walk down the memory lane. Those were the days when we had no money with us. Many a times we went hungry. Today we have got enough money with us. But we miss the good old days. That is something we learnt in two years, money doesn’t complete the jigsaw of life.

Well watch out for the Goa I saw in the next episode!


For the first installment of Goa


For my Goa Pics

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Goa Chapter One: The Genesis

Past few days had been uninterrupted fun, frolic and travel. My body needs some rest. Blogging is the best form of rest- body and mind.

Within a few days I will have to get into regular grind of life. Goa will start fading into a distant dream from past.

Goa gave me a lot more than expected. It felt like turning more than one pages of life together. I will turn the chapters one by one.

From the moment plans were announced about Goa, I had doubts about its practicality. In reality self doubt is becoming my enemy no.1. Thanks to enthusiastic friends (former college mates) of mine everything became a reality.

Then there is a universal power that leads us to our destinies. I believe the power had something to do with smooth functioning of things. There was an old man with us in the train. He described a bomb blast in a train that happened some years ago. The conversation sent shudders through my spine. What if it happened to us? We are just toys in the hands of fate.

The friends of mine did a good deal of research for this journey. That’s some difference between Indian tourists and their western counterparts. Indians prefer a packaged trip. They pay a huge sum to some hotel. The hotelier plans the entire trip for the customer. Our Indian goes where his hotelier leads him with a hot wife and cute kid hanging on. It’s one of the best way to make money (for the hotelier) and worst way for vacation(Indian).

So thanks to my mates, we had a good idea on where to go and how to end up there. There were minor differences in opinions. We had to wait till the last minute to iron them out.

The rule no.1 was to carry as little luggage as possible. I had this problem of carrying a huge one wherever I go. The advantage is I will get to wear a clean shirt every 6 hours. But huge luggage is trouble if you have to carry it for long. Besides if your fellow mates are bachelors what’s the big deal about clean shirts. If you have to carry a family/girlfriend along then clean shirts do matter. Thanks to Big Bazaar I managed to get a cargo for bargain price.

Three T-shirts and a single cargo for 3 days in Goa and of course my precious camera, this made up my luggage.

Needless to say the colour and smell of clothes were beyond description by the time I returned. Thanks to my friends for putting up with me.


PS: For pics please log on to Jonpics

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Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.